Election 2012

Why Romney Must Win New Hampshire

Over at The Washington Post , Chris Cillizza uses the recent Newt Gingrich surge to show why former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney needs a protracted primary if he’s to win the nomination: The question for Romney…is what kind of race he and his team wake up to on Feb. 1. Has he won two of the first four states (New Hampshire and Florida)? Or just one of the four? (New Hampshire) If the former scenario plays out, Romney remains very well positioned to win an extended slugfest against Gingrich or any other candidate. If the latter, it’s possible that all of his organization and money if for naught as the party looks to move on and rally behind Gingrich as their preferred nominee. The unspoken assumption here is that Romney will win the New Hampshire primary with room to spare. And for now, that seems like a reasonable projection; according to the most recent Real Clear Politics average of New Hampshire primary polls, Romney is leading his nearest competitor—Gingrich—36 percent to 21...

Campaign Drags Down Public Opinion of Republicans

President Obama's re-election effort is on shaky ground by most accounts. The president's approval rating hovers in the mid-40s, a level far below the presidents who secured second terms. The latest unemployment figures finally dropped below 9 percent, but the job market is still not growing at the pace it needs to in order to rebound before the election, and things could become dire if Europe does not fix its financial instability. Still, Obama's political team shouldn't feel like giving up quite yet. A generic Republican averages just a 1-point lead over the president. Things look even better when the president is paired with a specific Republican, where he trumps Romney by 1 percent, Gingrich by 6 percent, and Perry by a 10-point spread. As voters begin to tune in to the Republican primary election, that edge will likely grow even larger. A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows that the Republican primary has helped drag down public opinion of the GOPers. Of those surveyed,...

Warren Cursed by the Bambino

In today's election news, a candidate for the World's Most Deliberative Body is facing an earth-shattering scandal because she said "2008" when she should have said "2007," demonstrating to all that she is utterly incapable of representing the interests of ordinary people. As the normally even-tempered Taegan Goddard indignantly described it , "Elizabeth Warren (D) and the rest of the Democratic field for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts couldn't answer a simple question about the Boston Red Sox at a forum yesterday. Apparently, they learned nothing from Martha Coakley's (D) defeat two years ago..." Witness the horror: Yes, that's right: Warren quickly answered that the Sox won the Series in 2004 and 2008, but the actual answer is...2004 and 2007! Holy cow! What a Massachusetts-hating elitist snob! ABC News political editor Rick Klein tweeted , "If Scott Brown wins a full term, this clip will be the opening anecdote on how." Cheese and frickin' crackers, as Mitt Romney might say. What was...

Has the GOP Establishment Doomed Itself?

Writing at The Daily Beast , John Avalon outlines the ten endorsements that might still matter in the Republican presidential contest. The list should be familiar to anyone who follows national politics; Avalon lists Sarah Palin, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Jim DeMint, and John McCain among the endorsements coveted by the GOP presidential hopefuls. While I’m sure that some of these endorsements might provide a big boost in some states (a nod from Jim DeMint, for example, will help in South Carolina), we should be careful not to overstate the importance of these endorsements to winning the GOP nomination, especially in an age where Republican voters seem inattentive—at best—to the concerns of the party establishment. In the past, when party leaders had the undivided attention of Republican voters, it really meant something when a conservative star endorsed a presidential candidate—it gave needed credibility. But now, party leaders are competing with conservative media personalities for...

What to Read Before You Unwonk Tonight

Many labeled Obama's sure-to-be campaign-defining speech as Rooseveltian (the conservation one, not the New Deal one), but Jonathan Chait notes that its more accurate label is "a frame for a campaign to contrast himself with Mitt Romney." More from Chait : A list of reasons that Newt is awful and why they may not be the downfall of his campaign. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Unless you're a Democrat, then you can laugh really loudly. Another important thing to note about Obama's speech—it's general tone and message was very Occupyian , as Jamelle Bouie points out. Obama knows that the people most active in the Occupy movement are a crucial part of his base that he must hold on to in order to win next year. A sound bite from Mitt Romney from the past for all you kids eyeing a career on Wall Street: "You've made as much money as you need to make. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life making money? I'm not the oldest guy in the world, but do you want to keep on doing the same...

Obama Takes Cues from Occupy

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
For most of this year, it’s fair to say that liberals have been angry with President Obama’s reluctance to attack Republicans or build a liberal narrative with his rhetoric. And while some critics took this complaint to comical extremes—see: Drew Westen—the frustration was real, even among those who were (and are) skeptical of the bully pulpit. As of late, however, Obama has grown a lot more aggressive in his attacks on the GOP; since introducing the American Jobs Act in September, the president’s political strategy has centered on demands for new stimulus, vocal attacks on the GOP for its defense of the wealthy, and a constant push to create contrasts between himself—as a defender of the middle-class—and the Republican Party. With his latest speech in Osawatomie, Kansas—where Theodore Roosevelt laid out his vision for a “new nationalism” in 1910—President Obama doubled down on those themes and continued his push against Republican ideology. As he did in his opening pitch for the jobs...

Romney Wasn't Happy "Just Earning Money" at Bain

AP Photo/Joe Cavarette
Mitt Romney, the living symbol of the 1 percent, hasn't always viewed his stint in the private sector as the epitome of his experience. On the campaign trail, Romney loves to rail against "career politicians" and tout his credentials as a businessman who can bring an economic acumen he believes is lacking in the current White House (willfully ignoring that he first ran for political office in 1994 and has been in perpetual presidential-campaign mode for at least the last five years), saying in one debate: "I'm very proud of the fact that I learned how you can be successful at enterprise, how we lose jobs, how we gain jobs... I understand how the economy works, Herman Cain and I are the two on the stage here who've actually worked in the real economy. If people want to send to Washington someone who has spent their entire career in government, they can choose a lot of folks, but if they want to choose somebody who understands how the private sector works they're going to have to choose...

Quayleman for Romney

Disney Former Vice President Dan Quayle declared his support for Mitt Romney today. Quayle dinged President Obama and explained his endorsement in an op-ed published in the Arizona Republic newspaper earlier today: There are four criteria I use in determining who I will support for president. These are: leadership, character, conservative philosophy and electability… There is only one candidate in the field that meets all of these criteria. It is Mitt Romney. He has proven over and over again that he is a leader. He has demonstrated he is capable of making tough decisions and turning things around. He is a man of integrity. He understands budgets and financial markets. He balanced budgets and met a bottom line. He is strong on national defense and has a deep love of the principles that make America great. A one-term vice president whose presence on the national stage is defined more by his ineptitude (potatoe!) probably won't sway any voters to Romney's side. But Quayle does further...

Holy Crap, Newt Gingrich Might Actually Be the Republican Nominee

When an election is some time away, pollsters typically ask people, "If the election were held today, who would you vote for?" It often seems like a silly question, because of course the election isn't today. But eventually, today comes. We imagine that up until the election, people's beliefs about the candidates are unformed and not held with much conviction. But as Election Day approaches, those beliefs harden, to finally come to fruition in the vote. And for some people that's true. But for many others, even the decision they finally make on Election Day could be different if the election were moved back a couple of weeks. Which is why it's now entirely possible that Newt Gingrich, possibly the most repellent, unelectable political figure America has seen in the last couple of decades, could actually be the Republican nominee for president. Think of a Republican-base voter—let's call her Gladys. At first, Gladys had no idea whom she supported. Then Donald Trump played with getting...

Gingrich Still Leading in Iowa

The latest survey from The Washington Post and ABC News shows former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with a crushing lead in the Iowa Republican caucuses. Thirty-three percent of Iowa Republicans support Gingrich’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination, compared to 18 percent support for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, 18 percent support for Congressman Ron Paul, and 11 percent support for Texas Governor Rick Perry. What’s more, Gingrich leads on the concrete questions as well. On the question of electability: “29 percent of likely caucus-goers say Gingrich represents the Republicans’ best chance to defeat President Obama in 2012, while 24 percent say so of Romney.” However, there’s one big caveat to these numbers; the large majority of Iowa Republicans are undecided: More than six in 10 potential caucus-goers say they could change their minds, and even among the likeliest attendees, fewer than half say they have definitely chosen a candidate." If Gingrich implodes...

Where Are Gingrich's Enemies?

For many members of Congress, it must seem truly strange to observe the current Newt Gingrich boomlet. This is, after all, the same Gingrich who was run out of Washington 13 years ago after his party suffered a rare midterm loss that left Republicans barely hanging on to control of the House. Gingrich not only stepped aside as speaker but resigned his congressional seat. He left the chamber with his tail between his legs and did not exactly endear himself to his fellow members on the way out, calling the other congressional Republicans "hateful" and "cannibals" who blackmailed him out of office during a conference call announcing his departure. With his bombastic style, Gingrich was well set for a life of public speaking and book career far away from any other elected office. That was the mind-set of the political class when Gingrich entered the presidential field earlier this year (especially after his entire staff fled his campaign over the summer), and yet now Gingrich has—at least...

Will Donald Trump Revive Birtherism?

By any reasonable account, Donald Trump's pseudo-debate should be laughed off as a media spectacle. Ron Paul had the appropriate response, immediately rejecting the invitation . His campaign chair said that the debate "is beneath the office of the presidency and flies in the face of that office’s history and dignity." Unfortunately, Newt Gingrich—who never passes up the opportunity for a good clown show—is the field's current front-runner. "This is a country of enormously wide-open talent. You know, Donald Trump is a great showman. He's also a great businessman," Gingrich said yesterday after an hour-long meeting in New York with Trump. With Gingrich committed, it'll become a real debate—few of the candidates will want to pass up a free media opportunity days before Iowans vote and two weeks before New Hampshire's primary. And that means the ugliest side of conservative paranoia might resurface later this month. Trump appointed himself birther-in-chief when he toyed with a...

The Journal vs. Fox (Huh?)

Hard though it be to believe, a Wall Street Journal editorial Monday actually had the temerity to criticize Fox News. Not by name, of course—Murdoch editorialists are nothing if not discreet when going after other parts of the Murdoch empire—but the criticism was directed at some unnamed organization that puts Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly on television every night. The criticism came in an editorial on the late, lamented Herman Cain campaign. After noting that Cain was in no way ready for prime time, the editorial asserted that Cain had too many flaws to take on President Barack Obama. At that point, the Journal dipped its toe, gingerly, into criticism of the right-wing media. Cain’s unelectability, it said, is the weakness that the talk-radio establishment overlooked when it dismissed the sexual-harassment accusations against Mr. Cain as one more left-wing conspiracy. Whether true or not, the accusations resulted in settlements by the National Restaurant Association, where he had...

What to Read Before You Unwonk Tonight

Mitt Romney is a veritable scholar of the evil art of flip-flopping. His definitive lecture on the subject can be found here (and here is an example of Mitt Romney practicing the witchcraft of which he speaks). He is also an influential expert on the art of not taking a stance at all, as evidenced in pundits think that his intellect is the source of his campaign woes and missteps, instead of the fact that he’s just really boring and super politiciany. The more time voters spend with Romney, the less they like him. The more time politicians spend with Newt Gingrich, the more they realize he's the worst ever. And if anyone needs help figuring out Gingrich is the worst ever, here are some helpful lists. The more time the White House spends with this chart , the more they realize how much of a love-hate relationship they have with it. Stop comparing the 2008 Democratic primary to this year’s. They’re not the same. This year's is just a bunch of old white dudes. #fail. There are other...

Romney Can't Even Make Up His Mind on Flip-Flopping

Via TPM 's Benjy Sarlin comes this devastating five-minute video of Mitt Romney railing against the dangers of politicians with shifting policy views. Only this was in 2004, when Romney was just the moderate governor of a liberal state, not the wannabe presidential candidate who would say whatever it takes to earn his party's nomination. At the 2004 Republican Convention, Romney addressed the Iowa delegation and used the main GOP talking point to attack the Democratic candidate John Kerry as a politician with no inherent beliefs, one who shifts with the winds of the political moment. "This guy is different than you've experienced before. … I've tried to think why it is that he has changed so often," Romney said, "why he finds it so difficult to come down on one side of an issue, instead sort of floats between both issues—between both sides of things." To recap, here are just a few of the issues where Romney has been on both sides since he ran his first political campaign in 1994: He...

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